May 4, 1938

CON

Ernest Edward Perley

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. PERLEY:

The government has tried to place responsibility upon the municipalities and upon the wheat board. Certainly that responsibility cannot be placed on the municipality, so far as the distribution of feed and fodder is concerned. We understand that the winter allotment expired on March 5, and the spring requirement was supposed to be distributed. I have a statement from a reeve of a municipality showing that on April 22 they were short by thirty per cent the amount of their seed allotment.

I say we cannot accept the statement from the Minister of Agriculture, when he charges that the responsibility is that of the wheat board or of the municipality. I have before me a statement by Mr. Taggart, the minister of agriculture in the province. This interview dated April 23 is very interesting because he makes the following statement:

The farmer finds it hard to understand why there should be grain in the elevator right next door, and yet he cannot have it released.

Tlie article goes on to say:

He did not have knowledge-

Said the minister of agriculture, Mr. Taggart:

*-that down in the northeast corner of the province more than 35,000 bushels of grain were ordered moved out by the wheat board to another point, when that grain was definitely needed in the area where it was to supply requirements. He explains this by stating that it may have been a clerical oversight due to limited knowledge of geography of that area.

What a lame excuse for a responsible minister of any government to make, when asked to give an explanation that there had been an oversight on the part of some official who did not know his geography. We want to know the reason for the delay. It may be that the wheat has not yet been paid for and the grain companies who sold it to the board were not prepared to release wheat this year until the provincial government had paid for it.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT RELIEF
Subtopic:   MEASURE FOR ALLEVIATION OF UNEMPLOYMENT AND AGRICULTURAL DISTRESS
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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

It may save time if I say to the hon. member that there is no possibility of my answering that question in connection with this bill. Special legislation to provide for seed and feed and fodder went through this house and these matters were

all discussed during the debate on that bill.

I do not think it would be proper for me to enter into another discussion on this bill.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT RELIEF
Subtopic:   MEASURE FOR ALLEVIATION OF UNEMPLOYMENT AND AGRICULTURAL DISTRESS
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CON

Ernest Edward Perley

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. PERLEY:

The minister should have knowledge of this because a similar bill was passed last year guaranteeing to the provincial governments what was required in order to supply seed. Surely he has some knowledge of that.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT RELIEF
Subtopic:   MEASURE FOR ALLEVIATION OF UNEMPLOYMENT AND AGRICULTURAL DISTRESS
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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

I am not saying I have no knowledge of it. I am saying that the rules of the house prevent -my discussing it.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT RELIEF
Subtopic:   MEASURE FOR ALLEVIATION OF UNEMPLOYMENT AND AGRICULTURAL DISTRESS
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CON

Ernest Edward Perley

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. PERLEY:

When I visited the grain exchange last October I had a conversation with three or four of the members. Another member came up to our group and I was introduced as having come from Ottawa. Evidently this gentleman thought that I was a supporter of the government, because he said to me, "When are you fellows going to pay us for the seed we gave you last spring?". I said. "Oh, have they not paid you for that seed?" He said, "No, they have not, and we are getting pretty well fed up with it." I said, "You ought to see about it; the money was voted and you should have been paid." He said, "The government owes our company $17,000 for seed supplied last spring, and I am only one of many here." If that is the situation prevailing this year, it might be possible that that is the reason for some of the delay.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT RELIEF
Subtopic:   MEASURE FOR ALLEVIATION OF UNEMPLOYMENT AND AGRICULTURAL DISTRESS
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LIB

Malcolm McLean

Liberal

Mr. McLEAN (Melfort):

What was the amount that was claimed to be owing?

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT RELIEF
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CON

Ernest Edward Perley

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. PERLEY:

He said $17,000 for that one firm alone. I have before me an article which appeared in a paper which has just come to me from the west, in which the secretary of the municipality of Perdue takes exception to the fact that the premier of Saskatchewan and the provincial minister of agriculture have charged the municipalities with responsibility for the delay. He states that that particular municipality made the requisition in good time. They had made a survey last fall, which was followed up in February and March, and requisitions went in in .plenty of time. Even at that late date, April 28, he said that the seed had not been distributed.

I shall not delay any further the passing of this measure. However, I think it is due to the committee that we should have a definite statement from the minister. I trust that he will give consideration to the two or three proposals that I have made, because there is a serious situation existing. I think he should make some statement, and see that

Relief and Agricultural Distress

the farmers have sufficient power and machinery with which to carry on their farming operations during the next season.

The leader of the opposition (Mr. Bennett) referred last night to the fact that the roads in Saskatchewan are in a very poor state of repair. There should be a lot of road work done. It may seem funny to the government that I am advocating this with an election pending, but the work is necessary. I would suggest that No. 1 highway from McLean east to tihe Manitoba boundary should be hard surfaced this year. This work is needed very badly. If the cross roads leading into that highway from the United States boundary were properly gravelled it would encourage tourist traffic from the states. I make these suggestions to the minister and I trust he will give them favourable consideration.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT RELIEF
Subtopic:   MEASURE FOR ALLEVIATION OF UNEMPLOYMENT AND AGRICULTURAL DISTRESS
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LIB

Malcolm McLean

Liberal

Mr. McLEAN (Melfort):

Mr. Chairman, I missed the early portion of the remarks of the hon. member for Qu'Appelle (Mr. Perley). I think it is only fair to tell the committee of some of the conditions that exist in Saskatchewan at the present time. The hon. member was lamenting the possibility, on account of the delay in distribution of seed, of frost and rust damaging the crops in the fall. Only last Wednesday I passed through the constituency represented by the hon. member, and not only was seeding not possible at that time, but no preparatory work on the land was being done because of the wet condition of the soil. Frost and rust are always to be feared, but these things could not occur because of delayed distribution of seed. There has been considerable snow and cold weather during the last couple of weeks and it has not been possible to do much seeding.

A few days ago a press dispatch stated that not more than five per cent of the wheat land in Saskatchewan had been seeded. That was not due to the fact that no seed had been distributed; it was due to the existence of conditions that prevented farmers doing their seeding. The hon. member said that the minister of agriculture of Saskatchewan had said that he was not aware that 35,000 bushels of wheat had been shipped out of northeastern Saskatchewan at a time when it was needed there. I do not think there would be

5,000 bushels of wheat needed by government distribution in northeastern Saskatchewan. The farmers in that part of the country had a fair crop of wheat last year and the most of them have made their arrangements. There was a small area where the farmers had to get wheat locally. During the time I was at home farmers were coming into the municipal

office and getting orders for seed. Those orders had to be sanctioned by the rural council. The reeve and the secretary of the municipality were appointed a committee by the council and they were carrying on negotiations with the farmers up to the time limit which had been established for giving out these orders. I met many farmers going into and coming out of the municipal office and not one of them had any complaint to make about any delay. Some might say that the municipality was a little hard on them; that they were not getting enough seed, but most of them were satisfied that they were getting reasonable treatment.

The hon. member said that he heard a complaint on the grain exchange that an amount of $17,000 was still unpaid out of the total assistance voted by this parliament last year. That is small potatoes when we consider the amount voted for the assistance of farmers in Saskatchewan.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT RELIEF
Subtopic:   MEASURE FOR ALLEVIATION OF UNEMPLOYMENT AND AGRICULTURAL DISTRESS
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CON

Ernest Edward Perley

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. PERLEY:

That was just one of many.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT RELIEF
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LIB

Malcolm McLean

Liberal

Mr. McLEAN (Melfort):

There were not very many firms on the grain exchange who sold seed to the government. A tremendous amount of assistance was given and apparently this is the worst case of which the hon. member heard. I do not imagine he would give us the least troublesome case that came before him. He probably knows of the large amounts that were owing to elevator and* oil companies when his friends went out of power four years ago. I did not hear his voice raised at that time in complaint about their negligence or lack of business acumen or business efficiency. They left about $17,000,000 of unfunded debts floating around, which has made it more difficult for the people of Canada and of Saskatchewan to assist the farmers in that province.

What the hon. member says about the roads being in desperate condition during the past few days is quite true. However, this condition has been brought about by the large amount of rain and snow that we have had this year. I have no doubt that not a single farmer will disagree with me when I say that the finest thing that could have happened to the country was that this moisture should be present at this time. I am sure the farmers were quite willing to put up with a little discomfort. It would be far worse if the roads to-day were in the condition in which we would expect to find them in July, if there were not sufficient moisture in the ground to germinate the seed that might be planted.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT RELIEF
Subtopic:   MEASURE FOR ALLEVIATION OF UNEMPLOYMENT AND AGRICULTURAL DISTRESS
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CCF

Major James William Coldwell

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. COLDWELL:

The hon. member for

Melfort (Mr. McLean) said that in fairness

Relief and Agricultural Distress

to the committee certain corrections should be made, but I am going to say that I think the criticisms made by the hon. member for Qu'Appelle (Mr. Perley) with regard to the delay in the distribution of seed are justified in part.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT RELIEF
Subtopic:   MEASURE FOR ALLEVIATION OF UNEMPLOYMENT AND AGRICULTURAL DISTRESS
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LIB

Malcolm McLean

Liberal

Mr. McLEAN (Melfort):

In part.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT RELIEF
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CCF

Major James William Coldwell

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. COLDWELL:

In part. I was not

going to mention this as the minister was good enough to say yesterday that he would rectify the situation. However, I have received a message from Surbiton in my constituency stating that on April 30 there was no seed and that none was in sight. There were over twenty farmers in that community who were dependent upon this seed grain. So there has been delay. I am not laying the blame at the doorstep of the Minister of Agriculture in this house because I believe it is largely a matter of provincial responsibility. But the criticism is justified to that extent. Moreover, it does jeopardize the early sowing of the crop and jeopardize the reaping of the crop in the fall because of the danger of frost and rust.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT RELIEF
Subtopic:   MEASURE FOR ALLEVIATION OF UNEMPLOYMENT AND AGRICULTURAL DISTRESS
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LIB

Malcolm McLean

Liberal

Mr. McLEAN (Melfort):

How could it

jeopardize early sowing when weather conditions had made the land unfit to seed?

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT RELIEF
Subtopic:   MEASURE FOR ALLEVIATION OF UNEMPLOYMENT AND AGRICULTURAL DISTRESS
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CCF

Major James William Coldwell

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. COLDWELL:

I think the hon. member will understand that all parts of the province are not in the happy position of having had the large amount of moisture that the districts to which he refers have had.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT RELIEF
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LIB

Malcolm McLean

Liberal

Mr. McLEAN (Melfort):

Rosetown-Biggar has probably had more moisture so far this year than northeastern Saskatchewan.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT RELIEF
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CCF

Major James William Coldwell

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. COLDWELL:

I think the hon. member is perhaps to some extent misinformed, because in Rosetown-Biggar we happen to be just a little bit short of moisture this year.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT RELIEF
Subtopic:   MEASURE FOR ALLEVIATION OF UNEMPLOYMENT AND AGRICULTURAL DISTRESS
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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

Around Surbiton.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT RELIEF
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CCF

Major James William Coldwell

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. COLDWELL:

Yes. As a matter of

fact, they could have seeded around Surbiton. But perhaps neither my statement nor that of the hon. member for Melfort is true for the whole province of Saskatchewan. It is with the desire of speeding up the distribution that these matters are being raised in this chamber, because, after all, we guarantee the funds that are being used for this particular purpose. I rose to make these remarks in order that we might have before the committee at this time all the information available.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT RELIEF
Subtopic:   MEASURE FOR ALLEVIATION OF UNEMPLOYMENT AND AGRICULTURAL DISTRESS
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CON

Ernest Edward Perley

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. PERLEY:

I should like to answer the hon. member for Melfort. If the seed had been

there we would have had it all in the ground in the eastern part of the province before the fine rain and snowstorms which the hon. member has been telling us about came along. Last Sunday we had an excellent rain, and, the Sunday before, snow and rain. The reeve of Indian Head municipality had all his wheat in the ground on one farm of 500 acres on April 22, and a lot of wheat was seeded on my farm on April 23. In the Indian Head and Wolseley districts, had the farmers had the seed, they could have had it in the ground between the 10th and 20th of April. I never saw the land in better condition to receive seed than on the day I arrived home and drove over my farm. I drove down to Whitewood, in which district they were all working on the land, and many of them had seeded on the 12th of April.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT RELIEF
Subtopic:   MEASURE FOR ALLEVIATION OF UNEMPLOYMENT AND AGRICULTURAL DISTRESS
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May 4, 1938